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Not Afraid of Dogs

Last updated Monday, June 9, 2008

Author: Susanna Pitzer
Illustrator: Larry Day
Date of Publication: 2006
ISBN: 0802780679
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Jun. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: Every time his big sister observes that Daniel is afraid of dogs, he responds, "I'm not afraid of dogs . . . I just don't like them." He can avoid them on the street, but it's another matter when Aunt Rose's dog, Bandit, comes to stay at his house. Rather than eat with his family, Daniel retreats to his room and shuts the door. He ventures out late that night during a storm, only to find the dog trembling in the bathroom. Realizing that Bandit is afraid of thunder, Daniel reaches out and comforts him. Pitzer tells the appealing story with simplicity and restraint, allowing Daniel the dignity of his original stance and the opportunity to change his mind on his own. Day's sensitive ink drawings, brightened with watercolor and gouache washes, create a series of large-scale, double-page scenes that clearly illustrate the emotions as well as the actions and attitudes of the characters, including Bandit. An encouraging story for the many children who are afraid of dogs . . . or just don't like them.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Are you afraid of dogs or other animals?
•  Do you have a dog or any pets?
•  Is the boy on the cover scared?
•  What are you afraid of?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What’s a “fraidy cat”?
•  Do you think Daniel is afraid of dogs? If so, why do you think he’s afraid?
•  Are dogs afraid of anything? What?
•  Why is Daniel the “bravest” boy ever?
•  Who is your favorite superhero? Is that person brave? How is he/she brave?

Craft ideas:
•  Fold a piece of paper in half. On one half draw what you are afraid of. On the other side, draw how you would be brave or who would help you be brave.
•  Make a “medal of bravery”. Give the medal to someone who is brave or keep it for yourself
•  Make a superhero costume–a mask for the face, a belt, wristbands or headband.
•  Draw a picture of your pet.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!